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June 22, 2008 at 9:59 PM

Storm practice: Cuts, trades made

Storm coach Brian Agler, who’s also the team’s director of personnel, cut Romanian C Florina Pascalau in order to make room under the salary cap to trade his second-round pick in the 2009 draft for Camille Little. He coached Little as an assistant in San Antonio last season and the former North Carolina star averaged 2.0 points in 49 total minutes during the four-game regular season sweep against Seattle last summer.
Little, a 6 foot 2 F, averaged 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12 games with Atlanta this season. She started two matchups for the winless Dream, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 boards in 23.5 minutes with the opening unit. She was selected in the second round (17th overall) in the 2007 draft, being named to the WNBA all-rookie team.
Pascalau, 26, wanted to test the WNBA, rejecting a long-term contract from Minnesota because she didn’t want to make more than a summer-long committment to a team. She arrived in Seattle days before the season opened on May 17 and didn’t have her visa cleared to play until June 3.
“It’s been a new experience for her,” Agler said after practice today of Pascalau, who played nine minutes this season — all during the team’s three-game losing streak. Her one FG attempt failed and the 6-4 post only grabbed one rebound.
“It’s hard to come in late like she did and we start our season and we [haven’t had much] practice time and during the practice we do have, we focus on that group that’s going to get the majority of the minutes,” Agler said. “She’s got good skills and she’s young enough that she’ll develop into being a good player in the WNBA.”
Agler ran the reserves about an hour after letting the starters and G Tanisha Wright depart for treatment. The starters practiced for about 90 minutes and C Yolanda Griffith (left knee, ankle) participated in that entire session.
The coach harped at his reserves, looking directly at C Ashley Robinson and F Shyra Ely, when asking if the group was going to practice to “get better otherwise we can get somebody else.” He made both respond to the question before re-starting five-on-five play against the practice players, which now includes radio analyst Adia Barnes. Barnes is training to return overseas to play, possibly in Italy.
The bench hasn’t been statistically productive, outside of Wright, although Agler has noted several times that the group has made progress. He said today’s session was the first where he could solely focus on the reserves without compromising game preparation.
“We don’t want to wear out people that play big minutes,” he said. “But everybody needs that and we were basically taking [the] time to get them some conditioning.”

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